Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Brown Butter Nutella Krispie Treats

Sometimes you just need to have a little fun.  These, my friends, are just the sort of fun I'm talking about.

I have to confess that I am very, very late to jump on the Nutella bandwagon.  Even though I grew up living with my Italian mother and grandparents we never had the stuff around much.  Maybe it's more of a northern Italian thing so my southern Italian family just never acquired a taste for the chocolatey/hazelnutty goodness.  It's a question with no answers. 

Happily, though, I can report that in my old age I have joined the dark side and have come to appreciate this beloved treat.

It doesn't hurt that I just happen to live less than 30 minutes away from a chocolate factory that makes their own version of a chocolate and hazelnut spread.  And that I like it just a little bit better than the Italian stuff.  Before you go accusing me of blasphemy let me just note that I'm not putting down the original, I simply happen to think my local stuff is better.  The Ritter Sport chocolate company has been in the area for 100 years and is the stuff of legends around these parts.  I suppose I have more of an emotional attachment to the Ritter Sport chocolate hazelnut spread (which is called NussNugatCreme- nut nougat cream) after being introduced to it nestled within a crepe along side sliced bananas and crushed hazelnuts in the sweet little factory cafe on a rainy day.  Who wouldn't fall in love at first bite?

I was compelled to buy the half kilogram sized tub of it at the factory Shoko (Chocolate) Shop.  And that wasn't even the big one.

I've slathered the chocolate hazelnut spread on pancakes and toast and swirled it between layers of cinnamon-scented sweet dough to make the most luxurious, hangover curing sweet rolls ever.  But that tub still calls my name from the back of my fridge. Today I've used it to gussy up an old favorite, rice krispie treats.  These krispie treats are just a little fancy and a whole lot of fun.  And as Cindi Lauper sings, girls just wanna have fun.....

Brown Butter Nutella Krispie Treats
Makes 12 bars.  Embellished very slightly from Smitten Kitchen's delicious recipe.
For the printable recipe, click here.

This recipe doesn't stray too far from its humble roots.  There's a bit of extra butter that gets a few more moments in the pan to toast up the milk solids and give it a nutty edge.  And then there's that stripe of chocolate hazelnut spread tucked in between two layers of the buttery marsmallowy (can I use that as a word?) krispies.  I suppose that if that's too much effort, you could always just mix the Nutella into the melted marshmallows and skip the layering step.  These are delicious either way.

 1 stick (8 tbs or 100g) butter
1 10 oz bag marshmallows
a generous pinch of sea salt
6 cups rice krispie cereal
2/3 cup Nutella or your favorite chocolate hazelnut spread

Generously butter (or spray with nonstick spray) an 8x8 baking pan with 2 inch sides.

Warm the Nutella in a small pot or in the microwave until it melts.  Keep warm.

In a pot large enough to hold and stir the 6 cups of cereal, melt the butter of medium heat.  Once the butter melts, continue to cook it gently until the milk solids turn a light golden brown and has a nutty aroma.  Pour in the marshmallows and stir over low heat until the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is silky.  Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the salt.  Carefully mix in the krispie cereal until it is completely coated in the marshmallow mixture.

Pour half of the marshmallow coated krispies into the prepared pan.  Press it down with lightly oiled hands or wax paper so that it compacts and fills the pan in one even layer.  Reserving 1 tbs to use as a topping, pour the melted Nutella over the bottom layer of krispie treat and spread to cover.  Press the second half of marshmallow krispies over the Nutella layer using the same method as the first krispie layer.

Let the krispie treats cool and set up in the pan for 5-10 minutes.  Cut it into 12 squares and drizzle the tops with the reserved tablespoon of Nutella (rewarm if necessary before drizzling).  Serve with a big glass of milk.

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